Middle of the Road


Here's a bizarre tale of local regulation gone haywire: Thanks to a poorly planned road and some inflexible zoning, a small neighborhood in Maryland has spent decades living in a highway median. Most of them can't sell their properties to businesses, because they're still zoned residential—and they can't sell to would-be homeowners, because who wants to live in a highway median?

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  1. That’s sure a sad state of affairs, but in the interests of equal time, we have a couple of spots in our town (Attleboro, MA) that are the converse, in other words, private property rights gone haywire. We have a median strip between 2 main highways that’s got a smattering of residential houses surrounded by development, and these people refused to leave, wouldn’t be bought out, at a fair price. Nearby, because of the complaints of local property owners about development on Route 1, we have 2 streets that should cross route 1and relieve congestion being blocked off. Actually, only one of them is truly blocked off. The other one isn’t blocked off, but on the end of the street that abuts route 1, there are “do not enter” signs BACK TO BACK! The result of this is that during this week, a 2 mile stretch of route 1 packed with stores and xmas shoppers is a giant bottleneck with no way to relieve the pressure. I sure hope no one has a heart attack in the wrong place.But if someone dies, I guess it’s a small price to pay for the peace and tranquility of the homeowners who got their street blocked off because they didn’t want to deal with other taxpayers who would have the temerity to actually drive down the street their taxes pay to plow and maintain.

  2. “Fair price” to whom?

  3. Gunnar, I have a hunch that your idea of a ‘fair’ price might have differed from theirs. When a house’s fair value is determined, it is generally determined under the assumption that the owner WANTS to sell (i.e., the fair value in the eyes of the BUYER). When you DON’T want to sell, the fair value in the your eyes would have to include moving expenses (including the value of time spent).

  4. After reading the linked story I just can’t get
    the song “Our House” out of my head.

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